The Art of Total War
The beloved and screamingly violent game franchises are celebrated in print, and it's not a pretty picture
Author Martin Robinson Publisher Titan Books Price £30 Web www.titanbooks.com Available Now
When Total War: Attila was released in February, it became the ninth entry in a brutal strategy video game series that’s spanned the century so far in release terms, and spanned millennia in its battlepacked gameplay. This print celebration of the franchise’s history provides a brilliantly comprehensive guide to how Total War has grown and developed, with input from all the creative minds who’ve worked on it to date.
On the other hand, it’s a good job that it’s worth reading, because Titan has published a mind-numbingly drab book from a design viewpoint. While the game’s graphics take leaps forward, their visual elements are displayed here in a simplistic manner that screams ‘1998’ on every spread. Admittedly, the true-history concept of the series makes it intrinsically less creative than the likes of Assassin’s Creed, but it isn’t an aesthetic feast.
Divorced from the actual gameplay, no generation of Total War really takes the eye by storm with its artwork, and vague echoes of Victorian Romanticist portraiture are the closest the basic style gets to standalone artistic value.
True fans of the series may well be fascinated by the game franchise’s evolution. But art lovers are best warned off a purchase.
The Crusades were among several wars that featured in Medieval II: Total War.